“I know that Her Body and Other Parties is terrifyingly real right now. I wish it wasn’t. I would give this book up in one second if I thought I could make it less relevant, if I could undo my own need to have written it. But the fact is, it’s always been this real. The fact is, stories exist whether or not we decide to commit them to the page. I consider myself lucky to have coaxed a few of them out of the ether, if only to say: me, too.”—Carmen Maria Machado, recipient of the John Leonard Prize, for best first book in any genre


“I am tired of the word empathy being used in connection with fiction—empathy is the table stakes of good fiction; you shouldn’t be allowed to play without it—but obviously all of our work rests on empathy, the ability to recognize that another person is just as real as you are.”—Novelist and critic Charles Finch, recipient of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing


“ ‘Creative nonfiction’ is a term that is currently having its day. When I was in college, anyone who put those two words together would have been looked upon as a comedian or a fool. Today, Creative Nonfiction is the name of the college course I teach. Same college.”—John McPhee, winner of the Irving Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award

Long Soldier +++

“There are conversations in the Native community that so many people are not aware of, that go into our work, our writing, and our art. There’s a particular lexicon, there are tropes, there are pitfalls that all of us are aware of, because we know that there’s a wider audience, looking and reading, and we hold each other to very high standards.”—Layli Long Soldier, author of poetry winner Whereas

Chocano +++

“For a long time I was afraid to write this book, and I had to overcome a lot of fear to write it. Because it’s still risky in our society, especially for a woman, to speak out and speak honestly or even speak at all—let alone to try to tell the truth of her experience—when it contradicts the official story.”—Carina Chocano, author of criticism winner You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Princesses, Trainwrecks, & Other Mixed Messages


“At the very least, fiction reminds us that other people have inner lives, whether we want to know this or not.”—Joan Silber, author of fiction winner Improvement